How to Hire the Right Home Inspector

A home inspection takes place after a seller accepts a buyer’s offer.

It is also Step 4 of the Home Buying Process. 

A home inspection isn’t a requirement to buy a home or to acquire financing. However, having the home inspected by a licensed home inspector is definitely worth your time and money. It’s the best way to learn the home’s true condition before purchasing it.

Hiring a home inspector can provide negotiating leverage for the buyer and can also reveal potential red-flags of the prospective home. It also gives you a way to back out of the contract if the inspector finds something you are unwilling to accept. That is why it is important to hire the right home inspector.

Shopping for a home inspector can be intimidating. Just like real estate agents, not all home inspectors are created equal. My advice to you when hiring a home inspector is to research as much about the inspector as possible. 

To help ensure you hire the right home inspector, I’ve compiled 8 questions to ask while interviewing potential inspectors.

1. Are you bonded and insured?

Home inspectors should carry errors and omissions insurance to protect against claims for inadequate work, or if they become injured at the property or damage the property. By making sure inspectors have their own insurance, this will prevent you from being responsible for any claims if any problems arise. 

2. Can I be present during the home inspection?

As the buyer, you should definitely be present for the inspection. Or at least be there towards the end, so the inspector can go over his findings of the home that will be listed on the report. The home inspector might even let you accompany him through all or part of the inspection. This is a great way to learn about your future home, inside and out. 

3. What is included in the home inspection?

The home inspection should be as thorough as possible. The home inspector will evaluate all parts of the house such as the home's heating and cooling system, structure, roof, plumbing, electrical, windows, doors, foundation, and appliances. Basically…the whole house.   

For homes in Florida, you also want to look for inspectors that will provide reports that may be needed to acquire home insurance. These include: 

  • 4 Point Inspection - An evaluation of the roof, the electrical panel and wiring, plumbing connections and fixtures and the HVAC System (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning).

  • Roof Certification - A statement of opinion certifying the roof has a life expectancy of 3 years or more. 

  • Wind Mitigation - A report determining the home is up to code and can withstand resistance to high winds caused by a major storm or hurricanes. 

4. What is NOT included in the home inspection?

I’ve learned that most home inspectors only focus on the main structure of the home. Pools, irrigation systems, workshops, barns, and other exterior features may cost extra to inspect. 

5. Do you specialize in a certain type of property? 

If you're buying a special type of property, such as a historic home or a new construction home, make sure the home inspector understands the special considerations for those types of properties. Older homes may have issues that newer homes don’t have. Additionally, recently constructed homes may have new materials and different types of framing that require a more critical eye. 

6. How long does a home inspection take?

A home inspection can take between about 2 to 4 hours. This usually depends on the size of the home and the individual speed of the home inspector. 

7. When will I receive the home inspection report? 

To be biased, I like to hire a home inspector that produces the home inspection report immediately (or no later than the next day) after the inspection is completed. This saves me, (the Realtor) time when communicating with the listing agent about our findings of the home, and if we are requesting repairs to be made. 

8. How much is the home inspection?

Did you notice that I purposely placed this question last? That's because shopping for a home inspector based on price alone shouldn’t be your only criteria. You might be saving some money to hire the cheapest inspector, but you could be paying for it in the long run because the inspector wasn't thorough during the the inspection. 

But to answer your question, a home inspection can cost anywhere between $300 to $450 for a home that is 2500 sqft and below. Home Inspectors usually post pricing charts on their website to also provide you with a general quote. But make sure to ask about the total cost and how they take payment before you agree to hire the home inspector. 

Find a Home Inspector In the Tampa Area

You can find a home inspector in your area through the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) website here and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) website here.

Or, when you are ready to schedule a home inspection, I can provide you with a list of home inspectors I’ve worked with in the past that I trust and highly recommend.